Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Goodbye, C 212

The Army is phasing out its remaining CASA C 212-100 light transport planes, a model that became stigmatized after a fatal Air Force crash last year. The three planes have logged an average of 6,000 flight hours and have been in the Army since 1978, Gen. Ivan Gonzalez, the head of the Army Aviation Brigade, told La Tercera. Maintenance costs have soared, and plans are to put the planes up for sale and to seek a replacement. A fourth plane was lost in a 1995 crash. Gonzalez said the Army also is trying to replace a pair of Cessna T-41 single-engine planes used for pilot instruction. The C 212 became the symbol of one of the worst air disasters in Chilean history, in September 2011. The plane, operated by the Air Force, was lost at sea as it tried to land on the Juan Fernandez island. Twenty-one persons, including the FACH crew and a team of civilians, were killed. The crashed was blamed mainly on erratic winds and the plane's low altitude, but the C 212's maintenance also came under scrutiny during the investigation. The tragedy clouded the future of the C 212 in Chile, and more could be headed for retirement. The Navy operates a few C 212s as well.

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